by PDX Code Guild - Nov. 18, 2015
5 Tips to Navigate a Career Fair

I find career fairs to be a bit overwhelming. Me being me, I responded to that overwhelm by jumping in and learning more! I did a bunch of research, organized the career fair for the ACT-W: Women in Tech conference, and attended the career fair to support people impacted by the Intel lay offs. I am sure there are a few more career fairs in my future. The biggest thing I have learned about career fairs is that people actually do get hired from them.

I graduated from college smack dab in the middle of the ‘08 recession. At the time, career fairs were non-existent. I have recently talked to a number of people who did get hired for tech jobs through career fairs. Go to Career Fairs. Every opportunity to job hunt increases your chances at getting hired. Research the companies in advance. Researching helps you create a plan of attack. Which companies do you most want to meet? What are the most valuable few questions you can ask?

As someone who finds career fairs kind of overwhelming, a plan of attack let me set a goal for what I needed to do before I could call the career fair a win and go home. Practice your elevator pitch until it is comfortable. Ideally, you will get to a point where you can weave your elevator pitch into conversation naturally. Dress professionally, bring resumes and business cards. Do what you need to get the most out of the experience. Some ideas: Take breaks if you need to – I did. Bring your cheering section if you need to – I saw whole families waiting outside the career fair waiting to cheer on their breadwinner. Buddy up with a fellow job seeker. Talk to companies you never want to work at to get practice and calm down.